Details on Blatchford Lands Development spark concerns

A sketch depicting the Blatchford Lands Development on the old City Centre Airport site. City of Edmonton

EDMONTON – A controversial redevelopment project in Edmonton’s core may not be as green as originally proposed.

The Blatchford Lands Development is going to be constructed where the City Centre Airport used to be.

The residential development would house 30,000 people and was initially promised as a world-leading environmentally-friendly community.

However, on Wednesday, city council heard many of those initial green plans aren’t economically feasible, and compromises will likely need to be made.

“When you go from a concept plan to the realities of what that might look like, there’s going to be adjustments,” said Councillor Dave Loken.

“I think it’s very early days, this is a really big decision, I don’t know if there’s going to be any decision today… Certainly, we’re developing the land, how we’re going to do that and what that’s going to look like is very much up in the air.”

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Loken stressed there’s no reason to believe the development still won’t be a world-leading project.

“I think … two councils in a row gave you direction to be bold with this,” said Mayor Don Iveson during the city council meeting.

“But, this council, this is the first time we’re seeing it.”

“So, I think it’s fair that there are questions. I think it’s good that there’s the opportunity to test what our comfort zone is,” Iveson added.  “But really, the choice that I think previous council had was ‘do you want to follow the market or do you want to lead the market?'”

Blatchford Airfield opened in 1927. The city centre facility eventually became the busiest airfield in North America and one of the busiest in the world.

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